Bible and Sustainability Writing Project

The next writing project will be due Sat. Sept. 21 at Noon (this is pushing back the original date on the syllabus to give you some extra time).

It will be a 700-word reflection on the Bible and Sustainability (that’s approximately 2 pages double-spaced, but use the word count, and meet that minimum without exceeding 720 words including the bibliography).

Please focus on how our biblical readings shape, parallel or contradict the sense of sustainability found in The Lord of the Rings so far.

You should draw on our readings in the Bible (Genesis and the Sermon on the Mount and John 1), in Tolkien (the Foreword, the Prologue, and the first chapters of the book that we will have read thus far), in Davies, and in Dickerson and Evans. Since this is a short reflection, don’t try to cover all of the Bible and Tolkien readings, but focus on no more than a couple key passages from each as examples to analyze.

This assignment should be posted on your blog but will involve using MLA Style and a Works Cited page rather than hyperlinks. (MLA style involves parenthetical citation (Davies 13) and a bibliography entitled Works Cited. For details see

Please title your document with your last name and then “Bible and Sustainability,” such as “Jones Bible and Sustainability.” Within the text of the document, also then craft a short title for the text itself.

Rules for late work and accommodations are on the syllabus; you will be able to re-write once, if it receives a passing grade, for up to 10 points more than your initial grade on a 1-100 scale.

In your reflection, you’ll want to use a style of an introductory paragraph with a thesis, and body paragraphs each with a topic sentence and at least one source citation. So this will be more formal than the Wikipedia-style assignment, but you’ll also want to avoid the first person (I or we). Avoid a five-paragraph theme model; don’t indicate your points in the beginning and then go through them in the body. Instead, try to weave your focus into the structure through the thesis and topic sentences, as indicated below.

A basic structure for the opening paragraph

  1. Begin with a specific word-picture example from one of the primary texts (the Bible or LotR).
  2. No later than the third sentence get to your thesis.
  3. After your thesis, include a couple backup sentences supporting it with points of evidence and citations.
  4. End the paragraph with a “statement of significance”: why your reader should care.

The thesis sentence should include two declarations linked by a “because” or “so/thus/therefore” conjunction. (This is called an enthymeme in Classical rhetoric.)

Body paragraphs should start with either the topic sentence or a specific example, but should get to the topic sentence by the second sentence.

The topic sentence of each body paragraph should have a clear link back to the opening thesis sentence. It should be structured similarly.

At the sentence level of writing, please follow Orwell’s rules of writing as discussed in class and posted on the seminar blog (active sentences and shorter words when possible, etc.).

Please be in touch with any questions, and feel free to schedule an appointment while you are working on your writing.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *